Presentation on theme: "SO4029 Sociology of the City"— Presentation transcript:
1 SO4029 Sociology of the City Urbanism 1Classic Perspectives on City Life
2 Community Participants in regular social interaction Shared social bondShared identityCommunal territoryStrong emotional attachment to the group and space
3 Rural to UrbanKey themes: Social Constraint v Freedom & Communal/Personal v Impersonal Relations.Töennies: Gemeinschaft/ GesselschaftDurkheim: Mechanical/Organic SolidaritySorokin & Zimmerman: Rural & Urban WorldsRedfield: Folk Society and Urban SocietySee Cousins p
4 Simmel: ‘Metropolis & Mental Life’ (1903) Urban culture as the culture of modernity:Simmel draws general characteristics about urban life through studying micro-level behaviourReason over emotionDominance of the visualCalculation (Philosophy of Money)Reserve and the private self (individual freedom)The blasé demeanour/nervous stimulationThe urban way of life spreads to the rural, collapsing the country/city distinction
5 Louis Wirth ‘Urbanism as a Way of Life’ (1938) Member of Chicago School – greatly influenced by Simmel3 Key Dimensions of Urban Way of Life:Size – greater chances for diversity – greater specialisation & division of labour = functional diversity – competition and formal control replace kinship as a means of organisation - provides conditions for social fragmentation and foundations for impersonal relationships -Density – intensifies effects of size –– blasé attitude (excessive nervous stimulation) - greater tolerance and greater social distance/stress – escape form density increases fringe development – density increases competitionHeterogeneity – more tolerance between groups – breaks down ethnic and class barriers – compartmentalisation, anonymity and depersonalisation.Social Relations: Primary, Secondary & Tertiary
6 Louis Wirth ‘Urbanism as a Way of Life’ Negative Consequences of Urban Living: social disorganisationIsolation and instability may lead to social disorderMental illness and suicide more likelyPotential for CrimeLoss of community/estrangement facilitates media and political manipulation
7 Herbert Gans ‘The Urban Villagers’(1962) Critique of Wirth’s perspective1) Isolation not necessarily a product of city life – ignores the fact that city life encompasses a broad range of social groups from the isolated to the relatively homogenous community, dependent on a range of factors2) Overplays Urban/Rural distinction (‘urban villagers’)3) Not single urban culture but collectivity of ‘sub-cultures
8 Gans’ Typology of City Dwellers CosmopolitesThe Unmarried and the ChildlessEthnic VillagersThe DeprivedThe Trapped
9 SuburbanismSuburbanism as a counter to the ‘Isolationist’ standpoint’- ‘quasiprimary’ area not anticipated by Wirth (Gans)Suburbia & LevittownThe Lifestyle Enclave
10 The Suburban Way of Life Interpersonal and communal relationships - but of a limited natureThe Mall/Shopping Centre as the locus of ‘quasi-community’The Lonely Crowd (Riesman) Tribal ConformityLittle sub-cultural differentiationSuburban ‘angst’ as the parallel of isolationSee new estates
11 Robert Putnam ‘Bowling Alone’ (2000) Social Capital:Information flows depend on social capitalNorms of (generalised) reciprocity are dependent on social networks.Bonding networks - connect those who are similar.Bridging networks - that connect individuals who are diverse.Collective action depends upon social networksCollective action can also foster new networks.Broader identities and solidarity are encouraged by social networks that help translate an "I" mentality into a "we" mentality.
12 Bowling Alone Correlates of Social Capital: Political Participation (Contemporary decline in social capital -Mirrors similar process during ‘Gilded Age’ of industrial revolution (USA))Correlates of Social Capital:Political ParticipationCivic EngagementReligious ParticipationThe Workplace
13 Bowling Alone Causes of decline in social capital: Suburbanisation + factor ’50s & ’60s BUT – factor ’80’s onwardsMobility & Urban SprawlCorporate De-localisationPrivatisation & Segregation‘Edge Cities’ (Garreau, 1991)(Other Factors) -Time & MoneyFamily Change - decline of traditional familyTechnology & Mass MediaGenerational EffectsAgainst the Tide, Small Groups, Social Movements, The Net
14 Bowling Alone Consequences of decline in social capital: Lack of Trust Lack of Shared Fate, Empathy, Social NormsSocial Capital & Emotional Well-BeingDecline in DemocracyNot all bad?‘The Dark Side’ of social capital – stifling conformity? – intolerance/discrimination?